St. Joseph’s Primary School

Client: St. Joseph’s Primary School

Pie was appointed to relocate the nursery school at St. Joseph’s into the existing main school building, forming a new Foundation unit with the Reception classes. Works include a new Foundation entrance extension, a new classroom extension, the refurbishment of existing teaching spaces to accommodate the new nursery, and the provision of new external play spaces.

The two new extensions are in concrete, relating to the existing concrete school building. Double skinned insitu concrete construction was used, with each skin poured at the same time and rigid insulation sandwiched between. Externally the concrete has a board marked finish, resulting from varying widths of douglas fir board, echoing the verticality of the existing concrete cladding. Internally the concrete has a smooth matt finish, and the generous child height openings and glazed roofs provide a light interior, and glimpses of the existing concrete cladding above.

Internally the palette of materials is purposefully muted; birch plywood, sundela board, recycled yoghurt pot surfaces, reflective charcoal coloured acrylic and thick woolen felt. Pie held a number of workshops with the children during the design process to help decide the heights and roles of the play elements within the project. The nursery spaces are flexible, with purpose made plywood furniture/play elements suggesting different areas of activity, all bound together by a pea green lino floor.

In the playground, a subtle separation is set out between the younger and older children, and a small rear play area was added for the nursery school children, with a lightweight canopy. Boundaries are kept low, and formed out of planters and platforms where possible, allowing the different age groups to interact and play together from their separate spaces.

Photo credit David Grandorge

Shortlisted for the AJ Small Projects Award 2011